With over 100 different strains of cannabinoids derived in a single cannabis plant, it’s safe to say that many people have questions about how they all work together! Among the different cannabinoids, CBD and THC are recognized in this industry for having both medicinal and therapeutic benefits. 

The question is, does CBD work without THC, and if so is it reaching its peak efficiency on its own? Follow along as we uncover the features of CBD in terms of how it affects us, its benefits, and what factors help to amplify its effect on our bodies and minds. 


What is CBD?

Cannabidiol, otherwise known as CBD, is a strain of cannabinoid found in high abundance in a raw cannabis plant. When consumed, CBD interacts with receptors in the brain to produce a calming effect throughout our bodies without altering our consciousness — more on this in a moment! 


CBD and the Endocannabinoid System 

The endocannabinoid system is a complex network of cells, enzymes, and cannabinoid receptors that help regulate various bodily functions on a daily basis. The endocannabinoid system plays a key role in the absorption and sensations experienced after smoking or ingesting (e.g., drinking or eating) CBD products. In other words, we wouldn’t enjoy any of the medicinal benefits of cannabis without our endocannabinoid system!


How it Works

Rather than binding directly to a cannabinoid receptor within this system, CBD interacts and modifies its ability to receive other forms of cannabinoids such as THC. This interaction can create a physical experience including decreasing inflammation, relaxing muscles, and inducing sleepiness. 


How is CBD different from THC? 

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is another common component found in the cannabis plant. Unlike CBD, THC is a psychoactive compound that induces euphoric intoxication after consumption. In other words, THC is the stuff that can make you feel high!

Thanks again to the endocannabinoid system, THC is also recognized as an “antagonizer” for our body’s natural cannabinoid receptors. Rather than interacting with these receptors like CBD does, THC binds directly to CB1 receptors in the brain to cause us to experience a high sensation — the more THC consumed, the higher we feel. 

An interesting fact about these receptors is that the hypothalamus, which controls our hunger, expresses higher concentrations of CB1 receptors. For this reason, when we consume THC, these receptors cause us to experience “the munchies”. 


The Benefits of CBD 

Even before the legalization of cannabis, many people have turned to CBD for medicinal reasons. Among the different benefits that CBD can offer, recent studies have discovered a strong relationship between CBD use and improvement in sleep disorders. Much of this research has been geared towards the calming nature of CBD and its interactions with our endocannabinoid system. 

These relaxing and calming effects bring about another surge in research looking at the effect of CBD on anxiety-related disorders including general anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Additionally, CBD is shown to play a role in improving symptoms of pain, neurological-related issues, and inflammation.


Does CBD Work Without THC? 

The short answer is yes, you can experience the benefits of CBD with or without THC. However, studies have found that CBD is actually more effective when taken in combination with other cannabinoids or terpenes found in a cannabis plant. This is known as the entourage effect. 


The Entourage Effect

The entourage effect describes the impact of taking two or more compounds together to achieve an effect that would be otherwise impossible when taken separately. In the world of cannabis research, this phenomenon has helped us explore the true potential of different cannabinoids for our health and well-being.

Originally, the entourage effect was seen to affect CBD only in combination with other non-psychoactive compounds in a cannabis plant. However, this 2010 study shows a direct increase in tumour-fighting properties when combining THC with CBD compared to each taken independently. Due to the location of the CB1 receptors in the brain, CBD is seen to elevate the effect of THC once bound to a receptor to create dual-acting power for even greater benefits. 


How You Consume Cannabis Matters

Although the method of cannabis consumption can vary from smoking, eating edibles, drinking a cannabis beverage, or any other method, the result of delivering CBD and THC into the brain will all be the same. However, the difference in your experience and potential health outcomes with both CBD and THC is based on the method of consumption. 


Smoking Cannabis

For starters, smoking marijuana produces an immediate experience as the smoke inhalation transfers from the lungs, into the bloodstream before moving directly into the brain. The problem with this is that although you’re experiencing the benefits of CBD and THC described above, smoking cannabis can have adverse effects on your respiratory health by causing airway inflammation, barotrauma, or obstructive pulmonary issues. 


Eating Cannabis

Edibles are another popular way of consuming cannabis. From the time you take an edible to the time you experience its beneficial qualities can be a major downfall. The absorption process is much slower than that of smoking cannabis since edibles need time to be absorbed into the bloodstream after digestion. Generally speaking, it can take as long as 30 to 60 minutes before reaching the brain and at this time it will produce a more gradual and longer-lasting effect. 


Drinking Cannabis 

As of recently, there has been a ton of buzz around the method of drinking cannabis — and for good reason! Taking a closer look at State B Cannabis Beverages, not only is the uptake time better but the experience of cannabis is too! From the moment you take your first sip, the cannabis will immediately diffuse into your system and induce its full effects in as little as 5 to 30 minutes! For this reason, you will be in total control of the experience you have with cannabis. 


The State B Menu

  • Resolve: 6mg THC/4mg CBD, Guayusa, Holy Basil, Schisandra
  • Sparkle: 5mg THC/5mg CBD, Passionflower, Damiana, Ashwagandha
  • Zing: 10mg THC, Bacopa, Ginkgo, Schisandra
  • Go (coming soon): 8mg THC/2mg CBD, Gotu Kola, Maca, Eleuthero
  • Chill (coming soon): 3mg THC/7mg CBD, Chamomile, Shatavari, Butterfly Pea


Sparkle is now available in BC, Alberta, California, and Ontario in the spring. Resolve is dropping imminently in BC and Alberta and is available in California. Zing is now available in Alberta, California, and coming soon to Ontario.

Wherever you live, recreational cannabis is available. Ask for us at your favourite dispensary!



Although there are a ton of great benefits for taking CBD alone, more evidence has shown that the combination of CBD with THC helps maximize the benefits received from one another. Taking this into consideration along with the pros and cons of different methods of cannabis consumption, cannabis beverages may be among the best options available in terms of functionality, uptake time, and deliciousness! 

Try out the different flavours and cannabis combinations for a new experience every time. Check out our beverage shop for more details!

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